OK Chargers fans, Week 12 is upon us and we stand at 4-6 after a brutal loss to the Miami Dolphins. Absolutely brutal meltdown by Philip Rivers in the 4th quarter may have completely changed our season and what we are fighting for. Did I mention how brutal that game was? Six games left in the year, who knows where we will be at the end of it, but this week we face the Houston Texans. If the Chargers want to get a win in Houston, I’ll be listing a few factors they should focus on.
The Match up: San Diego Chargers @ Houston Texans, NRG Stadium. 10:00 a.m., PST.
First major factor: Contain Lamar Miller: The loss of Brandon Mebane for the year is a huge blow for us. He was a force in stopping the run game this year. As the motto says, next man up. (Insert Damion Square.) The Texans run most of their offense through Lamar Miller. I don’t think Brock Osweiler deserves any real credit for their 6-4 record. Letting him (Osweiler) go through his progressions and make the right throw is what the Chargers should be looking to make the Texans offense do. Stopping Miller, who is averaging 4.3 yards per carry with 824 rushing yards on 192 total attempts gives the Chargers the best chance to win this Sunday.
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Oct 30, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) hands off to running back Lamar Miller (26) during the game against the Detroit Lions at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Second major factor: Protect Rivers: The Dolphins defensive line bullied the Chargers offensive line for pretty much the whole game when they played. Rivers virtually had no time to go through his reads or step into any of his throws. If the Chargers want to win this game, Rivers has to have time to throw the ball, plain and simple. I know the last quarter of football played by Rivers is haunting him right now and he probably can’t wait to go back out there and bounce back. Offensive line…do us a favor and give Rivers some time to let plays develop and make the throws and we will win this game.
Third major Factor: Run the ball with Melvin Gordon: (That includes inside the 2 yard line, McCoy.) It’s official, Melvin Gordon has turned the corner, and looks like the bell cow running back that the Chargers need. Now if we can only get him the right formations inside the 5-yard line so that he can get in the end zone and win us a ball game or two. The success of this team will be riding on Gordon’s shoulders for the next six games. Give him 25+ carries a game and give him a chance to succeed. By that I mean mix up the play calling, keep the defense guessing. So much of the time I am sitting on my couch watching the game and calling the plays. If I had to guess, I would say I’m right about 80 percent of the time. When I call run, it’s usually a run. If I’m at home calling the plays, what makes you think the professionals that get paid to do this can’t see what I do? Give Melvin the ball as much as possible and let him work.
Nov 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) is defended by Miami Dolphins free safety Michael Thomas (31) during the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Side note: Just once I’d like to see a power sweep to the outside from inside the 5-yard line when everyone knows if it’s a run, it’s up the gut. Do something that’s not part of the ordinary and see what happens! Set Melvin up for success.
Overall, I think the Chargers win this game. I just do not see Oswelier being able to do enough to beat us. Regardless if we are successful or not in stopping Miller, Osweiler is going to have to make some big throws. I just believe Osweiler is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL right now, from top to bottom. Don’t get me wrong, the Texans have some great talent on the offensive side of the ball but I just don’t trust Osweiler to make the Chargers pay for it. The Chargers are coming back from the bye week and should be as healthy as they can be with who is still available to play. Rivers will lead the Chargers to a win on Sunday with 3 TDs and 330 yards.